Chapter 24: Relic from the Dynasty (Part 1)
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
What a rare find! Saleen could not have imagined that he would be able to pick up such an appealing Caucasus warrior in the deserted wilderness
“What kind of contract is it? What kind of rewards are there? Name those first.” Saleen lifted up his cup to take a drink, not raising his head to avoid looking at Canghong’s annoying smile.
“The reward is five hundred gold coins. We will distribute ten percent to you once the mission is completed. For the official employment contract, I will pay a deposit of two thousand gold coins, and the professional union will be the guarantor.” Canghong listed out all the conditions in a single breath.
“Let us dig in first.” Saleen was not very satisfied with the conditions, and did not agree to Canghong immediately. In reality, a Grade 1 mercenary could not earn tens of gold coins within a year, even in good economic times. However, because Saleen was a mage who could produce magic medicine, a mission worth five hundred gold coins was not substantial to him.
A succulent leg of lamb served on a large bronze plate was brought to the table. Without waiting for the others to start eating first, Sika drew her dagger from her waist. With one leg on her chair and a chop by her dagger, she cut off half the leg of lamb.
As though no one else was present, she started gnawing on the lamb. Everyone was stunned. They had known about the ruggedness of the Caucasus folk, but this beautiful young girl was eating as though she were no different from a bunch of hairy barbarians.
Sika felt that the taste was a little bland and shouted, “Proprietor, did you not add any salt?”
Canghong gave an explosive shout, giving Sika a fright. She widened her eyes and looked at Canghong. Canghong resisted the impulses within him, gnashed his teeth, and shouted, “Send some salt over.”
Saleen grew more suspicious of this Canghong. Was there a need for this Grade 4 mercenary regiment with silver-colored badges to befriend two recently registered mercenaries this way? He extended his hand, grabbed the other half of the leg of lamb, and began to gnaw at it like Sika.
Canghong and the others looked at the empty plate, feeling troubled. Were these two really stupid or did they hold no regard for the mission at all? A commission of five hundred gold coins, together with the dividends, was a sum impossible for a Grade 1 mercenary to earn in two years.
By the time the second dish of wild buffalo was presented, Sika had already finished her half of the leg of lamb. She moved the wild buffalo in front of her and continued to eat, disregarding the people around her.
As Canghong watched her, he grew certain that this mage could not care less about a remuneration of five hundred gold coins. How could he entice him? He was not willing to increase the sum. The mage robe on Saleen indicated that he was just a Grade 1 mage. It was a reasonable offer. It would be entirely possible to instead hire a Grade 3 mage if they were going to raise the offer.
Unfortunately, it would not be easy to control a Grade 3 mage. If the mage were to turn on them after the completion of the mission, the whole troop would be in a crisis.
“Then why don’t you name a price? As long as it is reasonable, I will agree,” Canghong told Saleen, who was still gnawing on the leg of lamb.
“Hmm.” Saleen put down the lamb. He had waited for these words for a long time. At this point, he said, “I want to know what the mission is. The remuneration shall be calculated based on the number of days and is to be paid in advance weekly. It will be thirty gold coins per day, twenty for myself and ten for Sika. You will pay a deposit of five thousand gold coins when you sign the contract at the union. I want thirty percent upon the mission’s completion. If this is agreeable, you may share details of the mission. If not, we will leave after eating.”
“Do you think you are some mage master?” The swordsman with a scar on his face flared up. He was also starving, and was unhappy that the two dishes served had been finished by Saleen and Sika. Upon hearing Saleen’s demanding terms, he could no longer control himself and thus exploded, pounding the table and jumping to his feet.
“If I were a powerful mage master, I would ask for seventy percent,” Saleen said. “I have seen the price list at the union. Is my request too demanding?”
Canghong was nearly going to vomit blood. It was true that mage masters would be able to get seventy percent of the income, but Saleen was just a junior mage and was not even worth ten percent. He had given a good offer, and felt that Saleen’s request was outrageous.
“Alright, I agree,” Canghong consented, gritting his teeth. If not for the fact that he had to keep this from the others in the troop, he would not have agreed to such ridiculous demands. He would empty his savings of five years for the deposit of five thousand gold coins.
“Then tell me, why are you so insistent on hiring Sika?” Saleen was nearly full, rubbing his stomach as he looked at Canghong.
A faint redness appeared on Canghong’s coy face as he said in a low voice, “Now that you are going to hear about it, you must not go back on your words. Even though this is Dean City…”
Saleen glanced across the five of them, and saw each one looking at him nervously. Although he was only a Grade 1 mage, they were still afraid. Because Canghong’s words had contained a threat, they did not know if this rash young man would fly into a rage.
Naturally, Saleen was not angry. He was also from Sikeqinya, and possessed the calculating nature of a businessman. If the other party’s request was reasonable, he would not feel that his pride had been damaged.
“Alright, you may tell me. Since I have agreed to be hired by you, there is nothing for you to worry about.”
Saleen was a little impatient. It was a real chore to be a mercenary, and it was not as easy as producing magic medicine. However, he could only earn a thousand gold coins each year by making magic medicine, and that was given that he was the only mage apprentice in the entirety of Ceylon City. For this mission, he would get twenty out of thirty gold coins each day, and would, in less than two months, earn the same amount as he had earned the year before.
Both Pino and Cook, without waiting for Canghong’s instructions, had already left their seats to stand guard at the door.
Canghong took a deep breath, and said slowly, “It is a relic mission, and is not issued by the union.”
“I knew it. Otherwise, you would not need to hire outsiders,” Saleen laughed happily. He was just a rookie mercenary, but he possessed the genes of outstanding businessmen. Therefore, his sharp observation had detected Canghong’s secret. This mission was indeed profitable, and it would be a shame not to milk it for what it was worth.
“The mission venue is within the Chaotic Swamp, so I will need a Caucasus warrior to clear out the four hundred meter long passage filled with dinodemons. Their grades are low but there are many of them. Only a determined Caucasus warrior will be unaffected. Of course, the Grade 7 Spiritual Deterrence spell would be even more effective, but I cannot afford it.”
“Dinodemons? Those things are rare,” Saleen muttered, being overheard by Canghong.
Canghong warned, “They are only Grade 1 monsters, so I am unable to increase the offer.”
“Got it, got it.” Saleen calculated that Sika was at least a senior swordswoman or even a swordmaster. It would not be an issue to deal with Grade 1 monsters, even if there were hundreds of them. Every Caucasus warrior had been blessed by the Warrior Priest, receiving immunity against the dinodemons’ spiritual attacks. As for the dinodemons’ physical attacks, even there were thirty or fifty of him, he would be able to block them by depending on the constant magics of his mage robe.
It was an easy mission. They had got it made.
“Then what are you waiting for? Let’s head over to the union.” Sika wiped her mouth, and put down the now empty plate.
“But… we have not eaten anything.”
“Why did you not eat?” Sika’s expression was puzzled. The faces of those of the Falcon Regiment were as black as the bottom of a burnt pot, thinking in their hearts: You finished all of the food. Are we supposed to eat air?
After Sika had eaten her fill, those from the Falcon Regiment quickly ate and brought Saleen to the union to settle the employment contract. There were occasions when even large regiments with many mercenaries could become shorthanded. That was especially common when hiring low grade mercenaries. After the contract was signed and the deposit of five thousand gold coins was paid, even if Canghong and his men were wiped out, Saleen would still be able to get his compensation from the union.
In order to speed things up, Canghong had reluctantly bought horses for Saleen and Sika. Saleen and Sika did not know how to ride, but because Saleen had strong mental power, he deployed a little elemental power and it was easy to stabilize the mounting. Sika possessed the innate ability to calm animals, so the group of seven quickly left the city and headed northeast.
The Falcon Regiment’s destination was Didypus. It was the closest place to the Chaotic Swamp and offered all the supplies they needed. Because Didypus was under the control of the Dragons and Roses Regiment, it would be relatively safe to enter the Chaotic Swamp from there.
The seven of them took three days to reach Didypus. Saleen had already earned sixty gold coins by then, and of course, Sika’s thirty gold coins belonged to him as repayment for her leather armor.
Canghong showed a smile when they saw the city wall of Didypus. It had grown a little deserted. The green dragon in Loulan Duchy had led the majority of the adventurers southward. It was a godsend to have chosen this time to enter the Chaotic Swamp. He would rather have spent more money to sign the contract in Dean City than leave any traces in Didypus.
There was not a single member of the Falcon Regiment here anymore. Canghong did not venture far into the city. He replenished some food and water at a place right by the city gate, bought tents for Saleen and Sika, and left Didypus immediately.
The expanse of the Chaotic Swamp was vast, and its exterior was mountainous. To enter the swamp, one needed to trek for more than two hundred miles along the mountainous route. Horses were, in fact, not suitable for such expeditions. After entering the mountains, everyone would need to dismount from their horses and trek by foot. The road became uneven as they faced the desolate sights ahead of them.
The early winter mountainous wind was already very chilly. Herbivorous magic beasts passed by occasionally, but did not even look at the expedition squads. By now, they had grown immune to the sight of expedition squads. The magic beasts in the Chaotic Swamp were usually poisonous, the surrounding low grade magic beasts practically worthless, and most adventurers did not bother to lay their hands on them.
Deep in the mountains, Saleen finally felt relieved. They were away from the city, with no one trailing behind. It appeared that the attention of most had been lured to the green dragon. Would anyone be interested in the mission of pursuing him as a wanted person? He doubted so.
Sika and the people of the Falcon Regiment became familiar with one another. Saleen never talked, but merely quietly observed this mercenary regiment. Although the contract had been signed at the union, Saleen still remained cautious. Since this Canghong had come to the Chaotic Swamp behind his chief’s back, there was a possibility of him exterminating him and Sika after the expedition.
The people of the Falcon Regiment were also observing Saleen. The few of them had seized the rare opportunity to hire Sika in a hurry, but had not expected her to come with a mage who added on to their costs.
Generally, mages were very popular aside from their high prices. They held important roles in mercenary regiments. Even a Grade 1 mage had the combat capability of a swordsman who possessed the sword aura. In addition, an elementary swordsman whose sword aura could not leave his body, compared to a mage, would have fewer styles of attack.
In this environment with many potential complications, a mage was much more valuable.
Everyone was satisfied with Saleen’s performance. He did not have the arrogance of most mages. Aside from not speaking, he did not create any trouble for them. Even when trekking on the bumpy mountain roads, this young mage had not complained once. This was a normal mage with a good constitution, which he had most likely inherited.
Everyone formed their own opinions of Saleen, and were gradually reassured.